I had the good fortune this past weekend to attend a writing retreat in the serene hills of Malibu, the core of which was a seminar given by noted screenwriting consultant Bill Boyle (who was featured here in my recent Ask a Script Consultant series).
This was by no means “Intro to Screenwriting”, but more along the lines of taking your writing beyond the basics and making it richer and more layered so it reads more like a script written by a professional. Each idea and concept was explained using examples both written and visual.
The way you describe a scene so the words really pop off the page. Writing a character’s introduction to create a solid image of what kind of person they are. Creating dialogue composed of exactly-right words and with a rhythm so it sounds exactly as it should.
And this is just a small part of what was covered. There was a lot of information to process – in fact, I’m still processing it now.
Added bonus for me – a one-on-one with Bill to talk about steps to take to help get my career going.
The big question at the wrap-up session was “Did you get anything out of this?” This isn’t something I could answer right away. I really had to mull it over. In the end, my response, which still applies, was this:
There was a lot to take in, so I don’t think the results will be immediate. It’s not a superficial fix. All of it is something you really need to think about before and while you’re writing.
I have a strong suspicion that in the coming weeks and months, the more I write, the information that was presented will work its way onto my pages. I’ll probably develop my own method of doing it, which will then most likely become an automatic part of my writing process.
Am I glad I went? Very much so. It also gave me the chance to meet and talk with other writers, which is always great. Would I recommend this sort of thing to writers seeking to improve their skills? Definitely. (Here’s a link to Mia Terra Tours, the company that runs them)
No matter how much you think you know about screenwriting, there’s always more of what you don’t know. So when you get an opportunity like this to increase your knowledge and improve your skills, take advantage of it and do it.